Catch up with Joey Contreras, check out the video for his single "Ohio" and get your copy of Young Kind Of Love, available now.
What got you interested in music?
Joey Contreras: Well, I come from a really musical family. My mom - my mom and my dad are both in a band and they used to perform all over - she kept on singing while she was pregnant with me so I kind of soaked in that music very early and then I actually started as a tap dancer at four years old, so that's sort of when I started really getting into music and did a lot of theatre and just kind of went from there.
You do have this contemporary, theatrical feel to your music and a background in writing for theatre, so how has musical theatre most influenced your sound?
You know, I sort of feel more like pop music has always influenced my sound when I was writing for theatre. I kind of just always loved infectious melodies and catchy choruses and big choruses and all of those thing so, I mean, a lot of the kind of response for my theatre writing has always been, 'oh, it's very pop influenced,' and now that I'm sort of going back to my pop roots and everything, it's a little bit more storytelling, a little bit more theatre, than just pop music. Kind of an interesting blend.
Which artists have inspired your sound?
I always think of Britney Spears actually [laughs] but mainly, all of Britney's writers, the big pop writers like Max Martin, Dr. Luke; they've been a huge inspiration. But then, also, Sara Bareilles and Jason Mraz and Maroon 5.
Are there any tracks you're hooked on right now?
Yeah, I am obsessed with "Nobody Love" by Tori Kelly. It's on constant rotation for me and, goodness, it's awful but I'm totally still listening the Taylor Swift record. Those are the things that I'm listening to a lot.
How would you describe your sound?
I would say it's musical pop. I kind of like straddling those worlds of both giving you something you can dance to, something that you can sing along to, but also have strong storytelling to it so, yeah, musical pop.
Is there anything you try to keep in mind while writing?
It's hard to get out of your head in general, in life, and so when I'm writing I try to stop thinking about what people expect from me or what I think people are going to want to hear and just keep on staying true to what I dig and I'm like, if that feels cool to me, if that feels hot to me, if that feels emotional or effective to me, I just kind of have to trust my gut because, you know, that's gotten me the accomplishments and successes that I've gotten so far and I think the second that you start trying to give in to something or trying to write a certain way to be somebody, I think it doesn't feel genuine.
How would you describe Young Kind Of Love?
I am really proud of this record. It basically is the last four years of my life in New York. Those are stories from relationships and accomplishments and disappointments and I think that because New York is such a crazy, emotional roller coaster of a city, I feel like, and I hope that, I would be able to kind of inject some of that New York life into this record too within the specificity of this story. Then, on top of that, this record has a lot of great collaborations with other vocalists that I was super excited to work with. So, yeah, that's what's kind of interesting about this record; I kind of treat it like almost like a David Guetta or like a Calvin Harris kind of record where the main theme is that I've written all the songs and my voice lends texture to the instruments and I'll do a lot of back-up vocals if I'm not singing lead, but then there's a lot of lead vocalists on it that are featured and everything. And I wanted people to be able to just connect to it and have fun to it and cry to it and all those things. I just think about the overall feel of a record because I like the feeling of like, is this record from top to bottom going to be a journey and that's really important to me when I'm putting together music or when I'm putting together an album.
Have you been working on new music since that release?
I've been writing a couple new songs. Yeah, I've been writing some new stuff, I'm about to shoot a music video for another song off the record so that's what I'm currently on, like we were just doing that this weekend so that's been occupying a lot of my time, but I've been playing around and kind of testing out some new material here and there and seeing how people like it.
What's the best response you've gotten since releasing the music video for "Ohio"?
Most recently, it was posted on a site and there was a whole bunch of reader comments and everything and one person was like 'I had the worst day today, I had a head cold and all these things and this video just completely snapped me out of it and pepped me right back up' and I was like, that's really cool, that's good, I'm glad to see it can be like a nice dose of Sudafed for your head cold. Cute boys will do that to you.
What do you want to say about your music?
I mean, honestly, just for the people that haven't heard my music I think I would say, hey, give it a try [laughs]. I honestly just want to offer up a unique point of view and a unique perspective on all the things that we ultimately go through and do that in a fun way, in a quirky way, in an emotional way, a relatable way, and a catchy way. I think music, for me, has been such a therapeutic thing, both writing it and also just being a human and listening to music, and I just feel like, to be able to connect or to help someone else get through something or not feel alone in whatever they're going through, that's what I get excited about when I'm writing music and what I hope I'm saying with my music; that it's okay, we're all going through it, we're all going to figure it out and, yeah, we're going to figure it out.